From Virtual to Reality


This is the first sculpture to be designed with innovative virtual reality software and then realised in bronze as part of a major new exhibition at the Royal Academy in London. The exhibition, From Life, examines how artists’ practice of making art from life is evolving as technology opens up new ways of creating and visualising artwork.

From Virtual to reality with Jonathan Yeo from Jonathan Yeo on Vimeo.

For the last 18 months, Jonathan’s been experimenting with various innovative technologies related to image making, including virtual reality and advanced 3D scanning. Through a partnership with Google Arts and Culture, Yeo has been collaborating with Google’s engineers on their Tilt Brush software, which lets users paint in a 3D space using virtual reality technology. Yeo also worked with leading optical company OTOY, whose pioneering technology is used by leading visual effects studios in Hollywood including George Lucas and Warner Bros. Using their advanced LightStage scanner, a highly detailed 3D scan of Yeo was created and then imported into Google’s Tilt Brush software. In a ‘virtual life room’, Yeo was able to create a virtual self-portrait based on this digital scan. With the help of Google’s VR lab in San Francisco, Yeo’s virtual creation was 3D printed from the Tilt Brush software. It was then cast into bronze by Pangolin Editions, one of the world’s leading sculpture foundries in Gloucestershire, enabling his virtual brushstrokes to be captured in 3D and then realised in sculpture.

This marks a new approach to creating self-portraits since, for the first time, Yeo has produced works derived from three-dimensional scans in virtual reality rather than looking in a mirror or working from photographs. By making solid structures based precisely on the kind of gestural marks which painters would normally use on canvas, this platform opens the door to an entirely new process, both for artists already working in three dimensions and those, like Yeo, will little or no previous experience of sculpture.

The piece is named after sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi, in whose former studio in Chelsea Jonathan is based.

“As someone who has always wanted to work in three dimensions but never learnt how to do it in the traditional way, it is exciting to have helped create a new process which could probably best described as a hybrid of painting and sculpture. The reason to use self- portraiture was to demonstrate how you could employ 3D scanning to look at yourself in a way that hasn’t been possible until now. What’s exciting is that the combination of this, along with the latest virtual reality and 3D printing technologies, is potentially a new way of making sculpture and one that might inspire other artists from a range of disciplines to have a go too. I hope these pieces not only show how artists can make use of new technology in unexpected ways, but also offer a speculative glimpse of how we all might use them in the future”

Jonathan Yeo



Physical Energy at the RA

The Victorian artist George Frederic Watts’s, great equestrian statue Physical Energy returned to the courtyard of London’s Royal Academy (RA) on Monday, November 20, more than a century after it was first exhibited there.

The new bronze cast of the sculpture, now on show at the RA (until March 30), has been commissioned by the Watts Gallery Trust to mark the 200th anniversary of the artist’s birth.

Pangolin Digital played our small part in assisting the foundry to create an accurate edition.



George Orwell at the BBC

We are proud to have played our small part in helping Martin Jennings to enlarge the armature for his George Orwell sculpture, which is now in place outside the BBC, beside an inscription on the wall that reads “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”


“Sarah Lucas: Good Muse,”

While on a work visit to San Francisco we had the opportunity to pop in to Sarah’s exhibition at the Legion of Honour. The large concrete boots looked stunning in the formal setting. Digital processes were used early on to visualise scale, and then the scan information was used to produce an initial enlargement, before modelling and casting in concrete. Scanning accurate placement for artists is now becoming an essential part in works like this, where there are multiple objects or plinths. The artist can be confident that the work will be positioned in the way they have chosen and the foundry has accurate engineering data for plinth and armature construction. We were so glad to have had the opportunity to see the work in it’s intended location.

Sarah Lucas Good Muse

Grayson Perry – The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!

‘The Most popular Art Exhibition Ever’ is currently at the Serpentine Gallery until the 10th September 2017.

Pangolin Digital played a small part, by scanning a ceramic work by Grayson, to help the foundry rescale it and translate it into metal.

The piece is now mounted to the front of the ‘Princess Freedom Bicycle’ and will also be seen at the Arnofini when the exhibition opens there on the 27th September 2017.